HP CTO explains why they didn’t release a slate earlier

Warner grabbed some choice quotes earlier from Fortune’s look at tablets. But one that really grabbed me was from HP chief technology officer Phil McKinney responding to questions about their reaction to iPad and why they didn’t release a slate before Apple.

“If we had come out a few years back with a slate, the price would have been between $1,200 and $1,500. It would have been a very niche-y product.”

See, IF HP had released their own slate a few years back, it would have been too expensive and too niche. That’s why they have not already released a slate tablet. IF they did, McKinney would be citing experience and not be speaking entirely in hypothetical terms. And besides, IF HP had released a slate that runs Windows and Flash, surely everyone would know about it and not waste time trying to analyze the novel on-screen keyboard and cursor ripple effects from the new slate’s demo video.

McKinney added:

“We don’t time our announcements relative to any of our competitors. We have had this road map for five years, and we are sticking with it.”

That’s right. Innovation takes time, people. You can’t rush it. Or build towards it with incremental improvements on a revered design discontinued five years ago that has been described as “innovative and unique in a market comprised largely of products that were all essentially timid me-too offerings.” It must start from nothing, or at least that’s the impression everyone from McKinney to Bill Gates seems to be emphasizing with this new era of tablets. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash my brain. Seems to be sludged up with memories of things that must not have happened.